Success & Functional Depression
I’ve worked with many business owners and executives that have been on the brink of suicide, especially during the recession. Indeed, I was that high-achieving, successful business person myself. But inside I didn’t feel successful at all. I had regular thoughts of suicide, believing that it was the only way to stop the mental pain I was feeling. I was a highly-functioning depressive for over 30 years, and successfully kept it secret from those around me, even my wife and family. I’m not a doctor. Nor did I study medicine, psychology or any such mental health expertise as a profession. But I know first-hand what it is like to live with depression, suicide ideation, and ‘Imposter Syndrome’.
In 2011, due to a number of life-altering events, I turned my focus to finding the “switch” that would stop me from regularly contemplating suicide as an alternative to living. I did copious amounts of research, and undertook all of the standard supports for depression and suicidal ideation: healthy eating, exercise, meditation, medication – all of it. For me, at least, none of it was sustainable. So I developed my own programme which has kept me healthy and successful for nearly 10 years.
A large – and important – part of my work these days is to help others in their own personal growth journey, especially those who feel lost in life, depressed or suicidal. I do this by teaching them how they can use my programme to reduce, if not eliminate, their own depression and suicidal tendencies, while being on their unique life purpose to freedom and fulfilment.
There is no better person to teach someone how to handle depression and suicide ideation, than someone who has experienced it themselves, and has a programme that has already helped others.
Mental Wellbeing & Building Resilience
According to Mental Health Ireland, one in four of us will experience challenges to our mental health at some stage in life.
Whether mental health challenges are caused by money problems, a stressful business/job or simply feeling overwhelmed, taking care of our mental health is becoming more and more of a priority for people – particularly in the work environment.
Given this stark statistic of one in four, think for a minute about your family, business, school or community – how many people around you are struggling right now?
What is depression:
The conventional definition of depression, as defined by the World Health Organisation, is “a common mental disorder, characterised by persistent sadness, loss of interest or pleasure in previously rewarding or enjoyable activities, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, feelings of tiredness and poor concentration”.
What causes depression:
The general understanding of what causes depression is that it is considered to have a number of possible causes. For some people, it happens because of a traumatic life event such as bereavement, relationship breakdown, financial difficulties or bullying. In other situations, the person may have an inherent tendency towards depression. For some there may be genetic factors.
For people diagnosed with depression, and/or thoughts of suicide, the most commonly prescribed solutions are
- Medication, SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors)
- Counselling & Therapy
- Healthy Eating
- Meditation or Mindfulness
- Eliminating Alcohol
Some Research On Depression:
Having tried all the conventional solutions myself, with little or no impact, I spent hundreds of hours doing my own research.
Since 1980 there has been more than 300 clinical scientific studies from highly regarded institutions around the world – among them Cambridge University, Harvard University Medical School, Oslo University Hospital in Norway, Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research – that have shown a strong link between childhood trauma and the development of subsequent mental illness. This might not manifest until decades later in a persons’ life.
Trauma occurs when any act, event or experience harms or damages the physical, sexual, mental, emotional or spiritual integrity of an individuals’ true self.
As adults, we think of childhood trauma in terms of divorce, abuse, long term hospitalisation, etc. However, for the child it can be something that we don’t always recognise as traumatic, such as a change in school or the birth of a sibling.
In an adult, this trauma can be triggered by something seemingly trivial, such as an argument with a neighbour, to something more obviously traumatic, like the death of a close friend or relative, financial or business loss, or divorce. It might even present when something positive happens – the birth of a child, a work promotion.
The common treatments for depression such as eating healthily, taking regular exercise, and limiting alcohol intake have been shown to improve the symptoms of depression. However, they don’t do anything for the underlying trauma.
When an individual is faced with an event that triggers feelings associated with the underlying trauma, and experience emotions of fear, shame or guilt, the response which that individual is more likely to take will be to have an alcoholic drink, eat comfort food and binge in front of the television. Unlike conventional recommendations, they are less likely to eat a salad, have a glass of water and go for a 5km jog!
My own personal definition and cause of depression & suicidal thoughts:
My own experience and research have led me to the following conclusions:
- Depression is caused by underlying childhood trauma(s) that has not been neutralised.
- Depression is triggered by an event, or a culmination of a series of events, that increases a persons’ feelings of fear, shame, and guilt.
- Very often, the individual is also attached to an outcome that is beyond their current perceived limit of possibility.
- Depression is feedback telling the person to deal with unresolved issues, out-of-balance thinking, unexpressed desires, or not having meaning or fulfilment in their life.
Grief, trauma, resentment, and hurt are other symptoms for the underlying fear, shame and guilt – not causes.
A definition of Fear:
Fear is a feeling induced by a perceived danger or threat from a traumatic event. It triggers a behavioural response of fight, flight or freeze. Fear may occur in response to a specific stimulus occurring in the present, or in anticipation or expectation of a perceived future threat.
A definition of Guilt:
Guilt is often confused with shame. Guilt is the uncomfortable or painful feeling that results from a perception that we’ve done something wrong: we’ve violated or broken a personal standard or value, we’ve hurt another person, or we’ve broken an agreement or a law. Guilt is about our behaviour, about feeling bad about what we’ve done or haven’t done.
A definition of Shame:
Shame is the uncomfortable or painful feeling that we experience when we perceive that a part of us is defective, bad, incomplete, phony, inadequate or a failure. In contrast to guilt, where we feel bad from believing we did something wrong, we feel shame from being something wrong or bad. While guilt seems to be correctable or forgivable, we perceive there to be no way out of shame.
Other extreme symptoms can include anxiety, panic attacks, substance abuse, eating disorders, PTSD, personality disorders, and behaviour disorders.
A sustainable approach to dissolving depression and suicidal thoughts:
My own personal experience, the comprehensive research I’ve done, and from working with others that have had depression and/or thoughts of suicide, have led me to creating an approach that has sustainable results, which is to –
- Identify the original childhood trauma. There is usually one trauma that stands out for the individual when this is explored.
- Logically dealing with the trauma and reprogramming the brain. Without properly dealing with, and neutralising the trauma, the individual will continue to be triggered and will display signs of resentment and anger.
- Clear the resentment and anger that has built up in the individual from the original trauma.
- Discover the individuals primary internal priorities. Typically a person will not be living according to their personal internal priorities, but will be adhering to those imposed by others. By properly identifying their unique internal priorities, the individual begins to discover their true essence and purpose in life.
- Identifying the persons role in life, business or career that is most aligned to their internal priorities and which brings purpose and fulfilment, will ensure that they live a life of meaning, and which is sustainable.
- Enabling the person to develop what they need to build the three pillars of confidence, remove fears and anxiety, and how to work with Universal Laws and maintain balance in each area of their life so that they can reach their highest and truest expression of themselves.
All of this is done through a series of specific questions which results in a more direct route to treating a persons’ depression and suicidal thoughts, if present. Without this knowledge, the person feels that there is no hope, and therefore these thoughts compound the situation.
We need to take a different approach to treating depression and what we communicate to people, especially younger people, about mental health.
As I said at the beginning, research shows that one in four people will experience challenges with mental health.
Because of the research I’ve carried out and understanding that these challenges are caused by underlying childhood trauma(s), coupled with the changes and difficult situations that many children and young adults have experienced in the past ten years – the global recession, family marital and financial difficulties, homelessness, among others; I believe the number of people that will be faced with mental health challenges will increase significantly over the coming ten to twenty years.
My mission is to help in the effort to reduce the numbers of mental health incidents and suicides by helping others in their own personal growth journey to enable them to live a life of meaning and fulfilment.
I do this by teaching them how they can use my programme to dissolve past traumas and reduce, if not eliminate, their own depression and suicidal tendencies, if present.
There is no better person to teach someone how to handle depression and suicide ideation, than someone that has done it for themselves, and has a programme based on that personal experience that has not only worked for me, but has already helped countless others to do the same.